Scene 65: At the farm, which was in fact within running distance, George argues with the technicians that their ultrasonic machine is evil incarnate. They disbelieve his wild story. Imagine.
The farmer tells George that the machine is working like a charm, having killed off all of the pesky insects on his farm, and is proud of the technicians for having already extended the range of the device to 5 miles… oh no!
[And also, “OH, no! It’s going to suck for the farmer when he finds none of his crops pollinated because he’s managed to kill off all of the wild bees…” .. dumb asses.]
George takes this new tidbit about the range extension badly. He goes on a tear on the machine with a wrench as technicians and farmer kvetch about his madness and destruction of property.
As they rush off for a van to go fetch the police, George calls out crazily-sounding that he has to get to the Madison place and shouting for them to stop. Unshockingly, they choose not to give him a lift.
Scene 66: In the meantime, at the hospital, the officer on duty goes to check with the nurse in Katie’s room. He’s responding to Inspector’s inquiry to find out if Edna or George have returned to the hospital.
McCormick orders an immediate search, door to door, as he reports that our two crazed hippies have murdered and butchered PC Craig and the caretaker at the cemetery. He further orders a shoot-to-kill policy if they even look like they want to resist custody.
Scene 67: The coroner, still stuck traveling with McCormick from the Madison farm on this errand, points out that Craig and the caretaker were mutilated, but the three unidentified bodies were nearly incinerated.
McCormick isn’t confused by this. As now he’s convinced that not only are Edna, George and Katie all wrapped up in the murder of Martin Madison, but now they’re also on a crazed drug fueled murder spree.
But the Coroner suggests something worse… Satan Worship! Which explains the desecration of the graves and headstones around the scene.
McCormick is only too ready to leap at the explanation, however far fetched.
Commentary: Alas, it is highly unfortunate that the script gave Arthur Kennedy the line, “Oh, if only I could get me hands on them” which immediately springs to mind that he is referencing the Lucky Charms mascot, and I can’t help but burst out in amused smirking that kinda ruins the mood. Heh-heh-heh… Lucky Charms… heh-heh-hah-hah….
Scene 68: As McCormick worries about finding George and Edna before more deaths can occur, the technicians find him in the cemetery where they report George’s wild behavior to add fuel to the drug-induced rampage scenario in The Inspector’s head.
Scene 69: Meanwhile, Edna pulls up at the Madison place. Night has truly fallen, but somehow the ambulance still hasn’t come for Martin. Because. Slow, slow service? Unusually busy? Long, long, long drive?
She yells for the Inspector-Sergeant, while a phone rings within the house. In the meantime, the wandering Martin is recalled toward the house from his nearby wandering due to the racket she’s making.
As Edna wanders around the very-clearly-abandoned property, she spots our officer-on-scene’s hand … and only the hand… clinging to his rolled-down car window.
What is left of his body lies nearby. Now realizing that she’s not safe after all, she backs away from the grue and right into Martin’s return visit.
There is a brief struggle, but Edna is able to pull herself from his grasp and rush for her car. As Edna is pulling out, and clearly entering a state of shock, she hooks the mini’s bumper onto the squad car in a small collision. It allows Martin to yank open her door and try to pull her from the car!
Commentary: I felt so, so sorry for Edna by this point. You can tell from Cristina Galbó’s acting that Edna has just about reached her breaking point on all of this. She doesn’t even react when she lines up Martin in her headlights and runs him over. And I love how the fog surrounding her car in the very next shot pretty much reflects her mind… she’s more driving on instinct at whatever direction the car is facing, than anything purposeful now, every bit as or more broken than drug-addict-sister, Katie.
Scene 70: So, Edna drives through a thickening ground fog, in a state of shock. She ends up swerving off of the road, and trying to gain her breath. Although she keeps looking around herself, it’s hard to know if she’s with us…
Until a moment later when she hears the rasp of the undead. In a pair of headlights in front of her car, she sees Martin again… who surely cannot be there walking around after she ran over his legs and left him behind in his driveway?
She lets out a horrified, traumatized scream - on the verge of a full on faint.
In actuality, this is George having caught up with her while wandering the roads on foot. He asks her what’s happened, but she’s in a deep state of shock now. He guesses Martin, and that allows her to gasp out about her near fatal encounter.
Scene 71: George takes over the car again and rushes to the nearest petrol station that is open. Edna is suffering a bloody arm from where Martin raked his nails across her arm. George asks for help with summoning an ambulance.
As Edna is tended by the station keeper and her downs-syndrome daughter [I mention it because it comes into play in a moment when Edna is left alone with them], George loads up a container of paraffin to rush back to the Madison place and presumably burn Martin.
Scene 72: Shop keeper tells Maureen to get the lady something to drink, but then tells her not the brandy, but water, since they don’t know if Edna has any money. Edna in the meantime is mostly unresponsive and letting herself be guided and sat down.
Alas, she’s so deeply traumatized that Maureen’s placid features bending down into her face makes her flash on Martin’s fixed face bending down toward her. She flips the heck out, angering the shop keeper at the broken glass and her general behavior toward those who are trying to assist. [Apparently shop keeper is a dullard of a woman and doesn’t recognize very clear signs of shock.]
Scene 73: Back at the Madison place, George pulls up to the police vehicle. Things are far too quiet, except for the constant wind. George approaches Martin’s body, but it turns out not to be Martin at all… it’s the police! It was a set up, with The Inspector expecting for George and or/Edna to return to burn Martin ritualistically as he believes they did at the cemetery. He’s also livid about Benson’s death [the cop watching over the body while they wait for the coroner’s wagon… which uh… um… the coroner car drivers are on strike?], not to mention poor Craig.
George of course tries to tell him about the machine and the corpses rising. This goes about as far as getting George out of trouble and the police stopping Martin from resurrecting the dead waiting with him in the hospital, as you may imagine.
Scene 74: Back on the farm in the dead of night, the technicians are so determined to spite that hippy, George that they’re actually working out there in the dark to get the machine running again.
Our heroes in the wrong story are … ooops… successful.
Scene 75: At the Southgate hospital, poor decomposing Martin is finally making his way to the morgue for packing and storage until the official autopsy at Manchester.
We can hear the thrumming and annoying, high pitched whistle even stronger than before with the partial repairs to our sonic machine in place. Martin shows us signs of unlife, but nobody else notices.
Scene 76: Martin is laid out in the small morgue room of the hospital.
An attendant is left alone to get caught up on paperwork. He opens one of those cooler units to record details on another body waiting for Manchester transport.
Our attendant hears the thrumming and rasping associated with the undead, and the finds Martin missing from his table where he was just [unceremoniously - I’d be pissed too -] dumped. And despite having his legs run over by Edna, Martin has no problem walking around thankyouverymuchly. The attendant finds himself in the crushing grip of Martin.
Scene 77: In the meantime, Inspector McCormick and company are interrogating George. They find his fertility statue that he was bringing to his new place, and immediately peg it for some sorta pagan-worshipping-devil-doll accoutrement.
Inspector tries to convince George to wrap up this night’s travails by just admitting to killing two officers, since he’s already admitted to desecrating three bodies, but George yells about it being the corpses, which doesn’t actually convince anyone… and really wouldn’t even if Inspector wasn’t a giant asshat.
McCormick gets frustrated enough to slap George hard across the face, forcing another detective to step in. George is ordered escorted to the rest room to get his cleaned up, as he’s been left with a bloody face.
McCormick is taken to task for his sudden violence, but McCormick complains that the police are too constrained to deal with all of these criminals.
Scene 78: Meanwhile, at the local temporary morgue, we see that two containers have been opened and emptied, so there are now three zombies walking around.
They’re busy snacking on the remains of attendant.
Scene 79: George, meanwhile, is in the men’s room at the station and plotting his escape to stop the coming disaster at Southgate Hospital. He manages to do this by making his escort into a HUGE loser by tossing a towel in his face, and leaping out of the bathroom window to run for it.
Commentary: Yes, it’s particularly funny once you’ve seen the huge fight between Leslie Nielson and Anthony James in one of the Naked Gun films, where Drebin is nearly taken out by an assassin with a thrown towel.
But trying to put that image aside, this is still the most lamely executed escape that could’ve been come up with. I don’t understand why George didn’t just take him off guard with a hard right hook, and then make his escape. It’s ludicrous. [about 1min, 46sec in]
Scene 80: Everyone is roused to get after George.
Scene 81: Meanwhile, George has stolen a police car and has gone back to the service station in hopes of finding Edna still there. Maureen is playing with a shard of shattered glass from Edna’s flip out. Shop keeper accosts George about the damage that Edna did to her shop.
George demands to know where Edna is, and he’s told that he wanted her to call an ambulance, so she did. She goes on to complain that Edna must be insane with all of that talk about the dead, but George is running for a payphone.
Scene 82: At Southgate Hospital, all seems pretty sedate. The hospital operator gets a frantic call from George at a payphone trying to reach Dr. Duffield to explain about the undead being driven to rise from the sonic machine. Since Duffield has seen what the machine will do to the babies, he feels the man will understand the implications and believe him where McCormick clearly isn’t.
Scene 83: In the meantime, Duffield is busy with injecting the restrained Edna, who has clearly cracked apart under the strain of the day and her continued brushes with the undead.
By the time he reaches the phone, George has to run off before he can talk to him because a patrol car has spotted him. George leads the chasing officers in his stolen police car.
Scene 84: The doctor has called down to the operator for more information about who tried to speak with him, but she didn’t get any information from the caller. Probably because she’s too busy wanting to talk to her friend about the latest movie in the cinema.
Which is what she’s doing when the undead make their way up from the basement. She doesn’t realize she’s been joined until it’s far too late for her.
Scene 85: George continues to race toward Southgate Hospital with a patrol car on his tail.
Meanwhile, the undead finish their snacking on unfortunate operator, and move up the hospital corridors.
Duffield is with Katie and she convinces him to allow her to go to her sister’s room to look in on her.
[Yeah, I’m consolidating a bit here, we’re getting a lot of scene jumps as everyone gets to the hospital for the final confrontations.]
Katie is still unsteady on her feet, but she’s looking a bit better than when she first arrived. As they wait for the elevator to the second floor, behind them rushing down the hall as quick as the dead can stumble, are Martin and his two fellow morgue corpses.
The doctor and Katie see them just in time for the doctor to try to defend himself, while Katie makes it into the old elevator and can shut the gate on Martin.
In the meantime, the doctor grabs a fireaxe in the hallway to try to stop his attackers. He’s pushed up the short flight of stairs, while in the elevator, Katie struggles to keep the gate closed and Martin from grabbing her.
Neither of them make it, alas. Dr. Duffield’s axe gets wrested from his grip and the undead uses it on his own skull.
And Katie gets throttled/neck crushed by her husband.
Commentary: I fully expected Katie’s death, of course, but I still found myself sorry that she was trapped here and killed. If only she could’ve pressed the up button, she may have been able to find a way….
Dr. Duffield, being the only one who could back up George, was always doomed.
Scene 86: In Edna’s room, Katie comes a-visiting. At first, it’s too dark for Edna to notice that Katie isn’t interested in her welfare, and goes on about “don’t worry about me” and so on.
The situation becomes clearer when Edna spots the red eyes, and jagged irises of the dead that her sister now sports. Katie grabs up a pair of scissors for her dear sister….
Edna starts getting stabbed, but one of her hands comes loose from her bindings, giving some reason for optimism that she can fight Katie off and make it out of this flick.
Scene 87: A few doors away, an orderly hears Edna screaming for help. But a nurse tells him to ignore her, as she’s loopers and has been screeching off and on since she was brought in.
She tells him that Dr. Duffield is with her so no need to worry.
Scene 88: In the meantime, Edna continue wrestling with Katie over the scissors. Edna is able to free herself and rushes for the door, but her way is blocked by Martin!
She’s backed into a corner with little room to maneuver!
Commentary: Damn it! No! I wanted her to make it out of this. But I don’t see it happening. And now, about here, I remember this is a 70’s flick. I’m very, very worried now that this is going to be a “the heroes lose” film and I’m scared to death for George. I don’t want George buying it!
Scene 89: Speaking of… he’s finally pulled up to the hospital with the police in pursuit.
His first discovery, telling him that things have already been progressing as he feared are the remains of operator.
He shouts for Edna, and Edna shouts George’s name from the corner where so far, she’s been able to keep Katie, Martin, and anonymous dead dude from overpowering her.
Commentary: Which considering just how traumatized she was, and tranquilized to boot, I’m gonna give her a high five kudo for still fighting like a wildcat. Is there hope? Is Edna actually going to live through this with George?!
Scene 90: On the first floor, George’s way is blocked by Post-Surgical Zombie eating the remains of Dr. Duffield. George grabs the dropped axe, which pulls attention to him. In the meantime, the zombies in Edna’s room are grabbing at her while she struggles and shouts for George’s rescue.
George remembers though that fire is unusually effective. He wraps the axe head in soaked cotton of formaldehyde or whatever is conveniently lying around that is also really flammable [*cough*], and threatens the zombie. Which then lights up easily and fatally.
Unfortunately, as George is dealing with Post-Surgical Zombie, we see Edna again slipping into her shocked stupor as the zombies close in…! [No, dammit!]
Scene 91: When George arrives, he finds Edna surrounded and lying still, but she hasn’t been mauled yet! He does some more of waving his flaming axe head in the zombies’ directions and otherwise setting the room on fire.
With the undead thus distracted/being dispatched, he drags/lifts Edna from the now burning room. George embraces her as she starts to come around, assuring her that they made it and it’s all over [except, I didn’t see Katie still in the room].
But when he takes a good look at Edna [oh, goddammit, goddammit!], Edna has the shattered iris look and starts rasping as she reached for him. She did die, most likely from sheer terror… [crap!].
She grabs George by the throat and tries to claw his face, but he breaks her grip and shoves her back into the burning room. She reaches out to him, to his horror, as she collapses into the flames.
Scene 92: Just when things can’t get any worse, a gunshot rings out and George spins around. There down the hall is Inspector who has had enough of these “satanic killings” and he plugs George a few more times for good measure.
[OH, F-ME! Are you kidding me?! DAMN IT!]
Yes - George is shot to death by the Inspector-Detective. He nearly spits at George that he wishes the dead could come back to life, so he could kill him again. He spins on his heel and strides out, leaving George’s body on the dirty, hallway floor.
Commentary: Damn. I was afraid we’d get the 70’s pessimistic ending, but this still really hurt. I wanted so badly for George to make it out of this.
Scene 93: The following day, the front of the hospital is pandemonium as reporters have gotten the story on the ‘killing spree’ of George and Edna’s. Everyone is singing the praises of McCormack for putting a stop to the butchery as he’s driven back to the local hotel after an exhausting night.
In the car, McCormack tries to downplay that he’s a hero [but he doesn’t really do humility very well or convincingly]. He says that too much rot has been allowed to go on because of a lack of a strong hand in law enforcement, and he can only hope to set an example for others to follow to get Britain back on a moral path.
They pass by the sonic machine continuing to do it’s bug destroying on the way to the hotel.
Commentary: Oh, die, you shit.
Scene 94: At the hotel, Inspector makes his way up to his room. There is no sign of the desk keeper on duty. And the hotel seems very, very quiet.
In his room, McCormack tries to relax, but hears the raspy breathing of the undead behind him. When he turns, he finds George. Undead!George, actually. Who seems to have a memory of who killed him and wants a little vengeance for it.
Inspector pulls out his handgun, but finds it ineffective and George now wraps his hands around Inspector-Detective’s throat.
Inspector stares up at George as his throat is crushed. And the sonic machine keeps on sending out its siren call, until a freeze frame.
Commentary: I love this film, but I hate, hate, hate my George’s fate.
The Good: First, I love most of the direction for this film. I like that each scene feels like it has the room to breathe, and even though there are a lot of scene changing in a film that is pretty long and takes time to actual get to the disaster, I'm never bored. The pacing is kept under control.
Ray Lovelock makes a problematic protagonist, but you never turn against him. There is just something charming & yes, charismatic about him. Similarly, despite Edna's relative weakness, you never dislike Christina Cristina Galbó for it.
I really like how the audience gets a look at George in his business life, dressed down in a cardigan and seemingly pretty conservative [what with the shirt & tie] and then see him as the local Southgaters do in his leather and shaggy hair. "Don't judge a book by its cover", indeed. It's also a nice reflection of who George is beyond his brisk manner that he could've run at any time during the film, but he doesn't. He stays until the end, to his detriment, trying to stop what he can see coming.
I thought is was a neat twist while exploring Katie and Martin's characters that at first we could assume that Martin is the bad guy and Katie is being held against her will/abused by her husband. But again, first impressions are completely wrong, and Martin is a good man trying desperately to save his wife from a hell of her own making. It's Katie who is the manipulative person in the coupledom.
The shooting locations for this film are absolutely stunning and beautiful. Likewise, the sound design throughout the film is expertly done and the rasping of the undead is spine chilling. I loved all of it.
I'm also giving a huge kudo for the contact lenses of the undead. They're unusual and arresting!
I loved the early performance of Jeannine Mestre as the sneaky and then completely traumatized, Katie West.
I really appreciated how the growing undead threat is kept so far off screen throughout the beginning and early middle part of the film, as our characters' attention is on other matters - mostly trying to help/defend Katie. Then things start to pick up as George gets the weird incident with the newborns at the hospital, and then finally everything goes to hell as everyone is converging for their own reasons at the hospital, which is already being attacked. I enjoyed how Jorge structured the film to keep other things going on in order to keep our characters ignorant of the threat until it's too late to put an end to it. And I also really like just how close George keeps coming to stopping the zombie attacks, only to have the unintended interference of the police snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The entire last assault of a few zombies throughout the hospital was pretty awesome for our character deaths, and the special effects of the zombies. Even though I hated to lose Edna and George, I appreciated the way the scenes played out. And once again, how it looks like everything is over... except not, because the police make another unrealized mistake in not throwing George into cold storage for transport, immediately.
The Bad: The naked hippy girl felt like nudity for nudity sakes, which always bugs me since it's always a woman who has to show everything off. The fact that we're seeing nobody else even notice doesn't change the fact that full frontal wasn't necessary to the plot.
George's escape from police custody was just ridiculous. It was enough to yank me out of the film, because it was too cartoonish to work.
Other Thoughts: I'll put some scenes here, as far as not really being needed. The extended scene with the morgue truck doesn't actually have the importance that it's set up to be, so it isn't necessary. And there are a lot of scenes during the build-up to George and Edna recognizing something awful is going on around them that feel equally unnecessary -- though that could also just be that I've gotten used to jumping right into a plot, because modern horror can't waste time anymore with the slow build... *grumble grumble, old-person grousing*.
I'll admit to being bugged when Katie keeps either tripping, stopping, or staring when Guthrie is first stalking her and then is killing her husband. It always, always annoys me when women do the stop and stare with their hand over their mouth, instead of helping to fight off an attacker in films. But I'm not putting it in the bad, just 'cause it was do prevalent.
I'm putting Arthur Kennedy's performance here. Although I liked hating his Inspector at the beginning, the character is too one note throughout. In addition, there are certain scenes where you can see Kennedy's acting starting to go off the rails when he's complaining about lax society and the lack of rules. I find his acting to be swervy.
I also have to put the mechanacians of the zombies here. I don't like how Jorge uncomfortably mixed a heavy science reason for the zombies (with the environmental message) with more esoteric mystical bits suddenly in the middle of the film and the sudden supposition of George that a virus might be in there as well so one dead can revive another using living blood as a conduit. It's all very muddled, and nothing but the sonic machine somehow stimulating the freshly dead ever comes close to an actual explanation. The rest of it is only mentioned for Guthrie to resurrect two other corpses and then is promptly never referred to again.
The Score: This film is slow, so those raised on LOUD NOISES and HYPERACTIVE JUMP CUTS and MID-STORY ROCK MUSIC BLARING will not be able to enjoy it as much as I am. Which is a tragedy. This is a good film, with a good story and great performances.
4.25 out of 5 stars
The next review is: Supernatural's "Hell House"
In other news, I still haven't been able to watch The Walking Dead beyond 7x01.